BBC and Rangers media row resolved as broadcaster repeats apologies and pledges 'fullest possible coverage'
Rangers’ long-running dispute with the BBC has ended with the broadcaster pledging ‘to provide the fullest possible coverage’ of the team’s matches going forward.
The broadcaster stopped sending representatives from Pacific Quay to Ibrox in 2015 after concerns over coverage were raised and media credentials for some BBC staff denied.
But the stand-off has now ended and the two sides have buried the hatchet meaning coverage from the Edmiston Drive ground will now resume this season.
A BBC statement read: “A disagreement between BBC Scotland and Rangers FC has limited the BBC’s ability to report from Ibrox Stadium over a long period of time. The BBC and Rangers FC have now agreed that it is in the best interests of the BBC’s audiences and Rangers supporters everywhere for the BBC and the club to resolve the dispute and to provide the fullest possible coverage of all Rangers’ matches.
"The BBC is committed to reporting the Scottish Premiership fully and fairly across all clubs. However it recognises that the club has genuine concerns about the accuracy and balance of some coverage.
"The BBC acknowledges that there have been occasions when parts of the coverage of Rangers FC have not met its editorial standards. It has apologised for those instances and is happy to repeat these apologies now.
"We look forward to a positive ongoing relationship with the club.”
In 2015, BBC Scotland stopped sending staff to cover the team’s home games after senior sports journalist Chris McLaughlin was banned from Ibrox in a row over his reports. However the relationship strains stretch back over the last decade.
Rangers had previously withdrawn co-operation with the broadcaster in 2011 after ‘repeated difficulties’ but BBC Scotland countered the claims of underlying bias against the club, saying: “We completely refute this allegation in the strongest terms. All of our reporting of matters pertinent to the running of Rangers FC reflects the high standard expected of the BBC.”
The club complained to Pacific Quay bosses a year later over two instances involving then manager Ally McCoist – a segment on radio show ‘Off The Ball’ and a Sportscene pre-match montage styled on US TV show Mad Men.
In May this year, pundit Michael Stewart issued his own apology for comments he made two years ago on a Radio Scotland Sportsound programme in 2020 regarding former Rangers director of communications Jim Traynor.
In his Twitter retraction, the former Hearts and Hibs player withdrew his comments adding: "I realise that my remarks and the subsequent social media storm caused Jim and his family a lot of upset which I sincerely regret.
“I am also conscious that my remarks have caused embarrassment to Rangers Football Club and I would like to apologise to them too.”
Rangers confirmed the truce and the broadcast arrangement by re-tweeting the BBC statement, adding: “We acknowledge the recognition of past errors and the apology from BBC Scotland and the recent apology from Michael Stewart.
"Reporting of football matches at Ibrox will recommence at the beginning of season 2022/23.”